Shame the Devil

Written by Donna Scott
Review by Anna Belfrage

Shame the Devil is an ambitious novel, spanning well over a decade in the life of Colin Blackburne. Our hero is only eleven when he sees his mother brutally killed by Parliamentarian soldiers, after which he, his father, and younger brother are hauled off to seven years of indentured servitude. Colin may be humiliated, he may have been plunged from a life of relative comfort to the harsh life of a servant, but he never forgets who he is—the son of a loyal royalist who one day intends to fight for his king and avenge his mother’s death. By the time Colin is old enough to do so, Charles I is dead, but Colin still joins the royalist cause, which will cost him dearly.

Scott has created a very likeable protagonist and has gifted him with an equally likeable female counterpart. As the daughter of the viscount to whom Colin is indentured, Emma is unattainable, but love has its way of working through such minor challenges as war, imprisonment, exile, and servitude. Besides Colin and Emma, Scott must be applauded for the depiction of Alston, a hurting and confused young man torn between his “unnatural desires” and an uncompromising faith. Basically good, Alston struggles to free himself from the clutches of the utterly despicable Stephen Kitts.

With fluid prose and driven dialogue, Scott brings the complexities and deep divisions of the English Civil War to vivid life. Warmly recommended.